Saturday, January 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Oprah!

Oprah--girl, please forgive me. I just realized that I forgot to call and wish you birthday greetings yesterday on Friday, January 29th. I know you were staring at your cell and saying to yourself, "Self, did Vanessa forget my birthday?" No, girlfriend I did not forget your birthday--how could I? You're the most celebrated friend I have.
I am however, still kinda annoyed at not receiving an invitation to your 50th birthday party. So much so til I practiced passive resistance and planned to call you at the last possible minute.
You will be happy to know that Renee and I went out and celebrated in your honor. We laughed til we cried and I then went home and crashed.
I hope you had a wonderful day and I pray that you are blessed with many more birthdays!
Your BFF
Vanessa--The Churchy One

The VChurch 2010 Bad "B" Award Winners

I have always wanted to develop and sponsor my own gala awards show. Until now I played with the idea of honoring the funniest comedians, outstanding humanitarians, most creative early childhood professionals, unsung ordinary people and the Stripper of the Year (we've all got a dark side). They are all excellent ideas for public tributes and I was just so undecided until today when I came up with The 2010 "Bad B" Awards; to be bestowed upon women who go above and beyond in their areas of expertise in motherhood. To qualify, a woman has to be a mother who has achieved or set a precedence that causes her extreme notoriety and one for which she has become famous or infamous, as you will. There will be a Winner and a First Runner Up.

This year, I don't need a prestigious panel of judges to help me decide the winner because I'm pretty clear on who the two baddest b's in the entire United States are...drumroll please.

The winner of the VChurch 2010 Bad "B" Award goes to Nadiya Suleman aka Octomom; This woman is no Punk! She is a single mother of 14 children all conceived artificially by the same frozen sperm donor; birthing 8 children at one time by Caesarian section; losing 150 lbs one year post-pregnancy; currently has eight one-year-olds in diapers--eight toddlers; subjecting herself and her children to public ridicule and scorn to capture fame and notoriety as a reality TV star, all while feeding her children on food stamps and Social Security. I'm sure you will agree--she is a 'Bad B'.

The First Runner Up VChurch 2010 Bad "B" Award goes to : Kate Gosselin aka Mega-Mom; reality tv show star and mother of twins and sextuplets; all conceived artificially--8 children total. Publicly humiliated into single mom status by a deadbeat husband.

Many of you know a woman who should be nominated for the VChurch 2011 Bad B Awards. Feel free to nominate her in the comments. Be sure to include WHY you feel this woman is a "Bad B."
The Churchy One

"Q" Re-records "We Are the World" for Haiti relief

Master musician, Quincy Jones, 76 year-old music legend says musicians are gathering in L.A. to record the 2010 version of "We Are the World." The proceeds will benefit Yele--a not-for-profit headed by Wyclef Jean, to help in Haitian earthquake survivor relief.
How fitting to re-release the Grammy Award winning song which was written by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson 25 years later to benefit earthquake survivors. I hope some of the original artists perform in the recording.
Attaboy, Q!

My Friends are Grandparents and with that--Title Changes

I just found out that my friends, Horace and Susan Smith are officially grandparents. Hooray! Welcome to the club. You have just been elevated and you didn't even have to campaign. Ain't that wonderful?

But now that you have First Grandbaby Lillian, that does pose a slight dilemma--what are your new official titles to add to your ever-burgeoning arsenal of titles?
Horace, you have so many titles, that when I first met you I asked you which one should I use? You replied that "Pastor" would suffice, so I call you pastor but refer to you affectionately as 'Bishop' (hey, do I owe you tithes for that?) lol. Susan--I call Susan but refer to her affectionately as 'Sister Smith'.
But there are many others titles. For instance, Dr. Smith, Professor, Doc, Pastor, Bishop, Presiding Bishop, Diocesan Bishop, Presiding Prelate, Daddy, Horatio (Susan, I betcha thought I'd forgotten), Dr. Horace E. Smith, II, M.D., Rev. Dr, Nephew, Uncle, Cousin, Brother, and Son--just to name a few. And not to be outdone, Susan also has quite a few titles of her own: Susan Davenport Smith, Pharmacist; Sister Smith, First Lady Susan, First Lady of the 14th District, First Lady of the P.A.of W., Niece, Auntie, Sister, Daughter, Wife, and Mommy--are some that easily come to mind.

So after years of encouraging, kissing, hugging and loving on practically every child in the near vacinity of the two of them, both personally and professionally; baptizing kids, and dedicating babies; and praying for and laying hands on children made vulnerable by poverty both nationally and internationally, Jesus has blessed them with a lovely granddaughter--First Grandbaby Lillian. Her mother is First Daughter, Lauren Smith Elrod.
Herein lies the dilemma of the new titles. Will the good doctor become 'PaPa', 'PawPaw', Grandpa, or Granddaddy? Will Lady Susan be referred to as Nana, Granny, Grandma, Grandmother, or G.G. aka Gorgeous Granny?
A Rose by any other name would smell just as sweet and grandparents--whatever they are called by adorable grandchildren would be just as blessed.
The Churchy One

Friday, January 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dr. King

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr would be celebrating his 81st birthday today if he were alive.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies
hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction....The chain reaction of evil--hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars--must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of
Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength To Love, 1963.

We are so fortunate that his ideals and his words have lived on.
Happy Birthday, Dr. King!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy Birthday, First Lady Michelle Obama

Sunday, January 17, 2010 is First lady Michelle Obama's birthday. She will be 46 years old. Last year, on January 20th her husband, the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, Jr., Presented her with the White House as her principal residence as a belated birthday gift. He even let her mama move in with them.
This year, how will the President top last year's gift? I'm sure whatever he buys or does will be spectacular.
Happy Birthday First Lady--you go girl! I ain't mad atcha.

Michelle Obama 1st year Reflections

Looking back on her first year as First Lady, which included more than 200 events at her new home along with visits to 14 states and eight countries, Mrs. Obama declared success.

Mrs. Obama plans to spend 2010 focused more heavily on the issue of healthy living. She’ll speak on the issue of childhood obesity, and said if it would help, she’d even be willing to head to the hill to help pass legislation overseeing federal-funded school lunch program, which up for renewal this year.

I am proud of Michelle Obama. She has represented us as FLOTUS to the highest degree of excellence.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Let's NOT Make Haiti the 'Cause du Jour'

Haiti needs many things but false benevolence is not one of them.

There are many of us here in the United States who are learning about Haiti for the very first time. There is really no excuse for this ignorance, but I think of it simply as the privilege of arrogance and global indifference that comes with being a natural American citizen. We only focus on developing countries on a need to know basis--do they have something that the U.S. wants or needs? Then, we need to know them. If a country has nothing we need or want, why should we know them--especially if they're poor?
Haiti has experienced an earthquake of catastrophic proportions resulting in thousands of lost lives, unaccounted for loved ones, and demolition of buildings--including really important ones like hospitals. We have learned that Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The earthquake did not cause their abject poverty. There are many non-governmental organizations who advocate and fund raise on behalf of the citizens and causes of Haiti--year in and year out. This is not vogue or chic.
Won't you search your hearts as you decide to get involved in immediate disaster response for Haiti? Are you giving donations or soliciting funds on behalf of Haiti because your heart tells you to intervene or has the media presented a compelling reason why you should give? Are you giving because you want feel to superior to the people of Haiti (to whom much is given much required--yeah, right) or do you share in their pain? And finally, are you giving because you want others to know how generous you can be? Don't do the right thing for the wrong reason.

Remember, when the cameras leave the island, the people of Haiti will still live in the poorest of nations. Is what you are deciding to contribute to this cause going to help propel them into a life of eventual self-sufficiency? Or do you want to simply apply a bandage to a wound that needs major surgery. Don't let Haiti be a 'cause du jour'--that is, the chic thing to do at the moment.

Reid and Obama Squash Beef...

President Obama does not major in minors. And he knew how to squash a potential silly beef before it started with one of his Democratic colleagues.
.S. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid apologized on Saturday, January 8th for saying the race of Barack Obama – whom he described as a “light skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one” – would help rather than hurt his eventual presidential bid.

President Obama accepted Senator Reid's apology--period.

This statement was revealed in a just released book, "Game Change" by Mark Halperin. It is a look at the nuances of the 2008 presidential campaign.

What could have caused a stir, was a few revelations in the book that described statements by Hillary Clinton and her husband, Bill Clinton--both currently employed by the Obama administration in key positions. One statement that I was particularly perturbed by was the following:

– Former president Bill Clinton's efforts to persuade Senator Edward M. Kennedy to endorse his wife's presidential bid fell flat when Mr. Clinton told the Democratic lawmaker that "just a few years ago, Mr. Obama would have been serving the pair coffee." What did President Clinton mean by this? I'll bet if I sought the wisdom of President Jimmy Carter he'd be able to tell me.

Ringo Starr turns 70 in 2010

Seems like only yesterday it was 1964 and I was a six year old singing along with everybody else in America, "She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah". I had full fledged Beatlemania and a huge crush on the band's drummer, Ringo Starr. Today I am 52 and Ringo Starr is 70!

Ringo, whose birthday is July 7, plans to mark it by flashing a two-fingered peace sign at noon and playing an evening gig at Radio City Music Hall as part of a summer tour with his latest All-Starr band. Currently, he is on a promotional tour for his 15th solo album, Y Not.

Starr, a longtime vegetarian looks to be in his late 50s, dresses sharp and still has his great sense of humor. Let me be the first to say, Happy Birthday, Ringo!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Atlanta Accepts Federal $$$ earmarked for Homelessness Prevention

The Atlanta City Council approved the acceptance of $3.4 million in federal dollars that will be used to fund community-based projects aimed at preventing homelessness under the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP). (Legislative Reference No. 09-O-1121) HPRP funds provide financial assistance and services to prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless and help those who are experiencing homelessness to be quickly re-housed and stabilized.

The funds provide for a variety of assistance, including: short-term or medium-term rental assistance and housing relocation and stabilization services, including such activities as mediation, credit counseling, security or utility deposits, utility payments, moving cost assistance, and case management.

Funding for the homelessness prevention fund ($1.5 billion) was made possible through the

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which was signed into law on February 17,

2009 by President Barack Obama.

Council President Lisa M Borders is committed to ending homelessness in Atlanta in 10 years.